12-year-old Georgia Jane Crews lived in Montverde, a small town in Florida, with her older brother, Tony, and parents Mike and Linda Crews. Montverde was thought to be a very safe community, and with a population of just 400, many residents left their doors unlocked.
On April 8th, 1980, Georgia left her family home at around 8:30pm to walk to the local convenience store, which was around 1 mile from the family home, to get some snacks for the film she was planning on watching that night. Georgia liked to walk barefoot, and before she left she told her brother, Tony, that she would be back shortly.
After an hour had passed, Tony became concerned that Georgia hadn’t come back yet. At first, he thought that Georgia had just gone to a friend’s house to watch the movie. But after calling around and finding out that no one had heard from her, Tony started to search the neighbourhood.
Mike and Linda had been setting up trotlines on Lake Minnehaha, as Mike is a commercial fisherman. When they returned home, they found Tony in a panic and a few of their neighbours helping to search for Georgia.
Many people thought that Georgia was just somewhere close by, and the thought that anything bad had happened to her was completely out of the question. When another hour passed by, Linda got in contact with the police.
There was only one part-time police officer at Montverde, and when he realised the severity of the situation, he called for help from the surrounding counties. By the end of the night, several officers from three different police departments, sniffer dogs and a helicopter were all involved in the search for Georgia.
The sniffer dogs were able to pick up on Georiga’s scent leading away from her house and then down a dirt road that goes in the direction of the convenience store. Police also found small bare-foot footprints at places along the road, which gave them hope that they were heading in the right direction.
Sadly, only after a short distance on the dirt road, the dogs lost Georgia’s scent. There were no more footprints either. This led investigators to believe that at this point, Georiga got into a car. It is unknown if she got into the car willingly, or if she was forced into the car.
As the night got longer and the sky got darker, Georgia’s family knew that something was terribly wrong. Georgia was scared of the dark, and wouldn’t walk anywhere alone at night in the dark. They also were certain that Georgia would not have run away from home – she would always inform someone of where she was going, and she would always ask her parents for permission if she was leaving their garden.
When midnight struck, over 100 residents of Montverde were searching for Georgia, alongside police who were conducting door-to-door interviews, trying to get some sort of idea as to what happened to Georgia. But unfortunately, they were no closer to finding her.
The next day, divers searched Lake Florentine which was just down the road from Georgia’s home – but they found nothing. Police also followed up on the sightings of several suspicious and unfamiliar cars that residents had reported, but they were unable to link any of the cars to Georgia’s disappearance.
The FBI entered the search for Georgia a few days later and was able to confirm the theory that Georgia had been walking down the dirt road and then got into a vehicle by using tracking dogs. They also searched the area with a helicopter that had heat-sensing technology, but nothing useful was found.
On April the 10th, Lake County Sheriff’s department, along with Georiga’s grandmother and the Montverde police chief, received a phone call from an anonymous caller who claimed that Georiga was dead. The caller refused to give any more information, and the police were unable to track the phone call.
Just 6 days after the phone call was received, Georgia’s body was found in Fern Park, Seminole County, by a family of four. Although this was 25 miles away from where Georiga was last seen, police immediately thought it was her.
Georgia’s body had become too decomposed to be able to make a visual identification, so the medical examiner made the ID by an unusual bone spur on one foot, and the fact that Georgia was still wearing the clothes she was last seen in.
Georiga was found lying on her back with one leg tucked underneath her back. Her cause of death had been a single stab wound in the back, however, they haven’t ruled out the possibility that Georgia was also strangled. There was no sign of sexual assault.
The killer did leave several clues behind, but one item in particular really stood out: a homemade metal cross necklace. Georgia’s family said that they had never seen this necklace before, which lead police to believe that it belonged to the killer.
The necklace had been made from two pieces of silver, that had been drilled and then welded together, before being attached to a silver chain. Investigators thought that it may have been made out of pieces from an old motorcycle.
After the discovery of Georgia’s body, police questioned sexual predators, drug dealers, and anyone who had been charged with a violent assault who was out of jail and would have been in the same area, or close enough, to where Georgia was found. Unfortunately, they found nothing to link anyone to Georgia’s murder.
The police did receive several anonymous phone calls, thought to be from the same caller who told them Georgia was dead, stating that the person knew who the killer was. When police asked the unknown caller for more information, they became nervous and mumbled something about their own safety, before hanging up.
Investigators made a public press conference in which they urged anyone with information to come forward, and said that they would keep any informant’s identity a secret. They also urged the unknown caller to call them again and share any information that they had – but they never called again.
Detectives are certain that there are people out there who know what happened to Georgia that night, and who know who killed Georgia. They also think that the necklace that was left on Georgia’s body is the key to finding out who is responsible for Georgia’s death.
If you recognise the necklace, or if you have any information on Georgia’s case, please contact the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office at 407-665-6600.
Unsolved, Murder, Homicide, Abduction, Child, True Crime, Investigation, Georgia J Crews, Montverde, Florida, 1980, Unsolved Murder, Child Abduction, Child Murder, Unsolved Homicide, On-going Investigation, Real Crime